Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where Does the Film Go, Mr. Majors?

Something dawned on me while we were driving to work this morning. Lee Majors, in the Six Million Dollar Man, had a camera in his eye. Was that a camera that used 35 mm film, and if so, how did he replace the film or eject the exposed cartridges? I’d like to think he either had a USB-style port in his head where the exposed film could be ejected and the new roll put in, or perhaps they were more subtle – and a whole lot creepier – and just had the film drop out into his mouth when it was ready to go, so he could spit it out and then swallow a new roll. Must investigate this.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
A 20.2:1 zoom lens along with a night vision function in the left eye (as well as the restoration of normal vision). The figure of 20.2:1 is taken from the faux computer graphics in the opening credits; the only figure actually mentioned in the series, by Austin himself, is 20:1, in the episode "Population: Zero." Austin's bionic eye also has other features, such as an infrared feature used frequently to see in the dark, and he has also demonstrated the ability to detect heat (as in the episode "The Pioneers") and view humanoid beings moving too fast for a normal eye to see (as in the "Secret of Bigfoot" story arc). One early episode shows the eye as a deadly accurate targeting device for his throwing arm.

In Caidin's original novels, Austin's eye was originally depicted as simply a camera (which had to be physically removed after use) and Austin remained blind in the eye; later, he gained the ability to shoot a laser from the eye (this ability is also demonstrated in the first issue of the Six Million Dollar Man comic book issued by Charlton Comics).
So the TV show was understandably vague. The novel was more explicit, with noting the necessity of removing the entire camera from the skull after use. That seems really, really weird to me. Even stranger than the whole eye-based laser beam. But I suppose back then that digital photography wasn't even on the horizon, but it is incredible in this case (as with many cases) that the prognosticators didn't think these things all the way through.

Or, I should concede, did they figure the camera wasn't there for taking pictures, but for Steve Austin to be the big man and be able to zoom in and examine what was going on from a distance, and the clicka clicka noise was only for the edification of the audience? Can't be. Because tere were probably times they used photos he took, or at least wanted to use the photos he took. Why gie a guy a camera if there's no way to get images out of his head? That's all hearsay evidence in any court of law, even those the OSI might have subscribed to.
Another one that's always bugged me: Even with 24th-century technology, the best Star Trek-era medicine could do for Capt. Pike was a wheelchair that collected his poop and the ability to say "bloop bloop" for yes and "bloop" for no. So you can invent transporters, but can't even imagine medicine even a tinier bit better than what was available in 1960? Mr. Roddenberry (and others) for shame.

But the lack of imagination has at least produced this.

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